If you were injured in a car accident today or tomorrow, would you know what to do? Would you know what to say, what not to say, who to seek help from and what steps you should take? While you might have a general idea of what to do, when you’re amid a traumatic event it can be hard to think. As frantic as you might be, when your car accident involves injuries, taking every step with attention to detail is necessary. One missed step or missed detail could result in you losing your claim and having to pay for the costs yourself.
9 Steps to Take After a Car Accident
1. Notify the Police
No matter where the car accident occurred or what the other driver may be telling you, you should always contact the police. Even if you’re dealing with a minor injury or the at-fault driver is trying to make other arrangements to pay you, you still need to make the call. A police report is necessary when filing an insurance claim. So, get somewhere safe and contact the authorities.
2. Exchange Driver Information (If You Can)
If you’re not too badly injured, you and the other driver need to exchange contact and insurance information so that you may file a claim. If they don’t have insurance, still ask to see their driver’s license or photo ID. Write down an address and full name and try to get a contact number if they’re being cooperative.
3. Take Photos
If you’re able to, take pictures of the damage to your car, the crime scene and the other driver’s car. This will help to put the pieces of the scene back together later which can ultimately help determine fault or how the accident occurred.
4. Listen for Admission but Don’t Admit Fault
As you’re waiting for the police and possibly paramedics to arrive you may hear a lot of conversation either between the other driver and their passengers, witnesses, or someone they’re speaking with on the phone. While it is okay to listen for the driver’s admission of guilt, you should not tell anyone you believe you’re at fault (even if you do). If you get into a car accident in Denver for example, a good car accident attorney in Colorado will tell you there are a lot of reasons for accidents – including speeding, texting, cell phone usage, reckless driving, and more. There could be a number of reasons this happened, but you don’t want to speak to anyone about your part in it until you’ve had the chance to meet with an attorney.
4. Look for Witnesses
If there were witnesses to the accident, you’ll want to try and record their information and/or ask them to stick around until the police arrive to provide their statement in the report. This will help your claim and assist the authorities in determining which driver is at fault.
6. Request a Copy of the Police Report
Once the authorities have come and asked questions, surveyed and taken pictures of the scene and grabbed the statement of both drivers and the witnesses be sure to ask for a service or reference number so that you can retrieve a copy of the report.
7. Seek Medical Attention
If you or someone involved in the accident has been injured enough to need emergency medical assistance, make sure that you wait for the paramedics to arrive on the scene. If you’d prefer to skip the ambulance ride, still see to it that you see a medical professional the same day. The sooner they can get your injuries on record, the better. You want to make sure you can prove those injuries were a direct result of the car accident. Even if you don’t feel hurt, there are some injuries that can show themselves later so going to the doctor as a precaution is advised.
8. File an Insurance Claim
Contact your insurance company and notify them of the accident. Do not admit fault, simply provide facts about the incident.
9. Hire an Attorney
If injuries were involved, contacting a personal injury attorney is ideal. Not only can attorneys be instrumental in helping the insurance claim process to go faster, but they are also skilled in helping clients to get paid for damages, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more.
Final Thoughts about What to Do After a Car Accident
Accidents happen all the time. From major to minor accidents, the costs and consequences add up. Whenever you’ve been involved in an accident, it’s important that you follow the above-mentioned steps to ensure that your claim is processed without a hitch. Remember, if you’ve been injured, consult with a personal injury attorney to determine if you’re entitled to more compensation.